A Checklist For Starting Your First Online Business

A Checklist For Starting Your First Online Business

If you’ve ever started your own business, then you’ll know just how daunting it can be when you first set out. That can go double when the business is online; there’s no moment of cutting the ribbon, so to speak, so you don’t necessarily feel a sense of ceremony when you open up for business for the first time. However, you don’t have to go through the process of starting an online business alone. Here’s our checklist for starting your first online business. By following the items on this checklist, you’ll be that much better prepared for entering the world of internet entrepreneurship. Let’s take a look!

A business plan

Before all else, you need to solidify your business plan. Every single aspect and element of your business should be accounted for and planned out in this document; it’s pretty much a bible for your entire operation, so you should take writing it extremely seriously. Make sure that you’ve dotted every i and crossed every t that you possibly can. Overheads, supply chains and product sourcing, staff policies…everything should be written down carefully in your business plan so that you don’t meet any nasty surprises later down the line.


First and foremost, you’re going to need money if you want to start an online business. Most business owners apply for business loans; that’s the easiest and most conventional route to take when it comes to funding your business. However, if that falls through for whatever reason, then you have other options. You could look to private investment, for example, which may be a little harder to secure but may result in a better deal for you. There’s also personal financing; you could draw from your savings, or even take out £500 loans just to put the extra bit of cash into your coffers to get off the ground.

A great website

If you haven’t already realised that your online business is going to need a great website, then this may not be the avenue for you. All businesses need to have excellent websites, but this is even more important for an online venture, because it’s where customers are going to be spending the majority of their time. Your site should be clean, easy to navigate, and straightforward; it should be extremely simple to find your best products, buy them (assuming you’re an ecommerce platform, of course), and go through the checkout process without hassle.

A social media presence

Hand-in-hand with a great website goes a social media presence. All the most popular platforms right now – Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, to name but a few – should be on your radar when it comes to signing up for social media. This is the best and easiest way to keep in touch with your core demographic, and it’s a good way to advertise yourself as well, whether that be through paid ad campaigns or simply by posting that new products are available. Oftentimes, people will learn about you through social media, so it’s an invaluable marketing tool.

Product sourcing and supply chain logistics

As an ecommerce platform (and you can skip this point if you’re not), you’ll need to make sure that the way you source your product and have it shipped to customers is completely bulletproof. Without good product sourcing and supply chain logistics, you’re going to struggle to get your business off the ground; you could have the greatest website in the world, but if customers can’t buy the products you’re selling on the site, then it’s just pretty window dressing. Sites like Alibaba, Etsy Wholesale, and Faire are great places to look for sourcing products.

A mailing list

Having customers sign up to a mailing list is a great way to keep them apprised of what’s going on with your business. By getting customers’ email addresses, you can send them regular surveys to ask them what your business could be doing better, and you can also send out marketing materials, discounts, and other things to incentivise them to shop with you again. Experts have suggested that email subscribers are more likely to buy products from you, so you should definitely give customers the chance to subscribe to a mailing list if you can.

A content strategy

It’s not just important for your online business to be a leader when it comes to ecommerce. You also need to make sure that you have a content creation strategy in place, because great content can help drive sales and establish you as an authority in your field. Whatever you’re selling – whether it’s tech, craft goods, or anything else – creating blogs, videos, and other content will help you to look authoritative and knowledgeable. You’re providing a service as well as selling products, and that always looks better to prospective customers!

Great staff

It might sound a little obvious, but you need to make sure that you’re hiring the right people to staff your online business. If you hire the wrong staff, your operation could suffer, so when interviewing prospective staff members, you need to put your personal feelings aside and judge them objectively based on their performance or interview technique. This can be a hard thing to do, so don’t be afraid to recruit an HR professional who can help you to sort through interviews and pick the right people. Hiring staff at an early stage might feel like an extravagant use of a limited budget, but if you hire the right people, it’ll pay off for you in the long run.

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